Big Brother - Big Sister programs

By pairing a freshman in college with a freshman in high school, both students can learn together!

Photo of Kate Rancourt

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What if we paired a high school freshman with a college freshman and keep them connected throughout their four years? A big brother, big sister program can not only allow for meet ups, connections, and information sharing, but also a sense of belonging. The big brother/sister can share their story of their college journey in real time. They can both discuss challenges, successes, and helpful hints along the way. 

Benefits from this idea:

-allows for the high school student to feel confident of the college process before having to apply

-allows for both of the students to feel a sense of belonging and partnership [they don't have to go through this alone!]

-allows for the college student to feel a sense of ownership and since of pride that they are making a difference in someone's life

-allows for the college student to feel responsible to complete college, because someone is counting on them and rooting for them along the way

-allows for the high school student to gain insider information on the college process, class descriptions, and expectations of school

13 comments

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Photo of Michael Schurr
Team

Hi Kate, I love your idea. Seems like we think similarly. Check out my post College Freshman High School Advisors Want to partner up? Join a team working on this idea? I believe Edwin Lagos Clint Heitz Paula Marra and I are all working on a similar idea. Would you like us to invite you into the google docs that have been started? Have you started your own gdoc? Excited to work on this idea with you.

Best,

Michael

Photo of Kate Rancourt
Team

Michael,
I would love to be invited on the Google Docs! I'm excited to partner up with a team and further develop our combined ideas! I have not started on my own Google Doc, so I would love to be invited to participate with you and your team. Just let me know if you need for me to do anything on my end?

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

I like your idea because I've seen many of my successful students do the same thing. When I talk with kids about the questions they have about college, it's a much different story if they know someone who has recently taken the plunge. 

Building on this... how would people find those mentors? Do you think it would be better if your "buddy" were someone you already knew?

And how can we make it easier for people to make these connections? I wonder if you'd start with the college freshmen, ask them to capture and insight and send it to someone they know back home. 

Photo of Kate Rancourt
Team

Thanks Charles!
I think there might be a better chance of people "signing up" if they knew the person already. Perhaps an incentive could be offered to the students who do participate? Perhaps it could grow into a school credit or elective that they are "graded" with participation? Or extra credit? Some kind of enticing "singing bonus" would help motivate others to join in! 

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Great ideas here! Also, universities are looking for ways to attract new students. You can't get better marketing than this! At my alma mater, I know there are existing programs for undergrads who represent the college on tours. It's actually a paid position. I wonder if that's the right home for something like this. Maybe a service fraternity too? 

Photo of Chris Good
Team

KATE! welcome to the Guild. I am so excited to have you join the collaboration.
I love so many features of this idea. I think there is so much to gain by connecting the college and high school experience and by providing mentorship both ways. I wonder what would happen if the collaboration was not just 1 on 1 but if it were a small group or club where multiple connections could be made?

Photo of Kate Rancourt
Team

Chris,
Thanks for the warm welcoming! :) It's great to be here! I love the idea of groups getting together and sharing experiences and challenges to better each other. This could be in addition to the 1 on 1 interaction. What I like about the big brother/sister idea is that there is a chance for the 1 on 1 group to be more open and honest. It's a great opportunity to get to know one another on a personal level and feel a deeper connection to them and their process. That's what I love about big brother/sister program! You really do feel like family. 

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Chris, I love your point about the mentorship going "both ways." That's key to emphasize. Everyone can gain for that relationship.

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Hi Kate, I love this idea of peer mentorship. Have you read Graduation Shouldn't be "Good-bye" by Clint Heitz ? I see a natural connection between his ideas to bring college students back to high schools and maintain relationships and connections. 

Photo of Kate Rancourt
Team

Thanks, Donna! I haven't read the book you mentioned, but it is definitely on my "to read" list now!

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Donna was actually referring to a post here on the Guild – if you click the link (here on the platform) it will take you there directly. Basically we're always looking for ways to connect different ideas, because collaboration is at the heart of how those ideas evolve. 

Photo of Kate Rancourt
Team

Thanks for the heads up! I'll check out the post on guild and build off of that!

Photo of Donna Teuber
Team

Great! There's an option for you to post a link to a Google Doc for collaboration. I'm happy to join in the collaboration!